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What is DTF Printing?


DTF film is a kind of new transferring operation. You must be heard of it before in other places. And you must also have many questions about it. This article is written to introduce DTF film to you in detail. After reading this article, you will know whether the DTF film is suitable for you.

Brief Introduction

DTF film is also named PET heat transfer film. It is a medium material for the transfer process. The pattern is printed on the PET heat transfer film, and the ink-sticky hot melt powder through the surface of the pattern is used as the transfer medium to transfer the clothes. Compared with other kinds of transferring operations, it has more advantages such as the cheap price and environmentally friendly. Nowadays, it becomes more popular than before because of its vivid and pretty transferring effects.

Range of Application

The biggest advantage of DTF film is its high compatibility with fabrics. It is compatible with cotton, polyester, and many other kinds of fabrics. The DTF film even can heat transfer on leather, handbags, wallets, and suitcases. And the transferring effect is not less than other kinds of transferring operations. Many manufacturers who have a high standard for their products prefer to use DTF film. What’s more, the environmentally friendly handling and ease of operation allow DTF film to be used in a variety of industries, factories, stores, individual stores, etc.


There are a lot of differences between DTF film and the other kinds of papers during the process of transferring. The passages below will tell you more detailed information about the operation of DTF film.

● Materials & Machines

When we use DTF film to transfer, we need to prepare materials and machines. They are DTF film, powder, DTF ink, a specially modified printer, an oven, and a heat press machine. Also, if you have interested in an all-in-one machine, you can try a DTF printer & powder shaker.

● DTF Film

DTF film is made of PET. There are two kinds of DTF film, single-sided and double-sided. Normally, DTF film has diverse sizes to transfer like its sublimation paper. When it is printed, the image area will be sticky. This area is used to stick the powder. As a result, the DTF film doesn’t need to use a cutting machine to cut its image after printing. It will save a lot of time during the process of production.

• Powder

The powder is a media that can make the images stick to the substrates. You can regard it as powdered glue. The powder will fully cover the image which is printed right now. Then the covered film can be sent to the oven to heat. After heating, the powder will melt as a layer. This layer will help the images stick to the substrates during the process of heat transferring.

• DTF Ink

DTF ink is thicker than normal ink. Only this kind of ink can provide the image with a higher definition and vivid color. DTF ink’s biggest difference from the other kinds of ink is its white ink. Special white ink is used as the base color of the pattern. This can make the images have no chromatic aberration. The ink will hardly sublimate and is not sensitive to solvents. This means the DTF ink has high color fastness.

• DTF Ink DTF Film Printer

Unlike the piezo inkjet printer, the foam-type printer will change the ink during the process of printing. As a result, we usually use Epson and Sawgrass printers instead of HP and Canon printers. Before we use the printer to print, we must modify the nozzle of the printer. Normally, the nozzle of the printer will be very precise. And the DTF ink is thicker than the normal ink. Only the modified nozzle will be suitable for the DTF ink and provide more output of the ink.

• Oven

The oven used to heat the film must preheat to 140℃-150℃. Or the film will be underheated. The film will be heated for 3 to 5 minutes. The layer of powder will melt as a different and smooth layer which is used to stick the images to the substrates.

• DTF Printer & Powder Shaker

Except for the DTF film and DTF ink, we also have a DTF printer & powder shaker. This kind of all-in-one machine can save time and process to a large extent. Also, you should not prepare a printer and oven especially. You can finish the printing and powder shaking easily. This all-in-one machine helps the process of producing be more stable without skew. The only disadvantage is its weight. The weight of all-in-one machine is very heavy.

• Heat Press

The heat press should preheat to 160℃-170℃. Then we can tile the substrates with the film and heat them for 10~20 seconds. The DTF film can be peeled whether it is cold or not.

● How to Use DTF Film?

First of all, we need to prepare all the materials and machines referred to before. And we should modify the nozzle of the printer before we print the patterns. The modified nozzle can ensure the high quality of the printing.

After printing, we need to fully spray the powder on average right now after printing and shake the over-sprayed powder down.

Thirdly, put the film into the oven to heat the powder on it at 140℃-150℃ for 3-5 minutes. Don’t forget to preheat the oven before you heat it. Or we can use an all-in-one machine to print, spray and melt the powder together.

Finally, use the heat press to heat transfer the image for 10-20 seconds. Preheating the heat press at 160℃-170℃ helps the image be transferred to the substrates better. Moreover, the DTF film can be peeled both at high and low temperatures.

● Operation Peculiarity

The biggest differences between DTF and other printing operations are its powder and white ink. On the one hand, the powder is used to stick the pattern to the substrates. Stable viscosity makes the substrate and pattern more solid. And we don’t need to worry that we will tear the pattern during the process of washing or pulling. On the other hand, the white ink makes the patterns with their bottom color. And the pattern will have no chromatic aberration after transferring to the substrates. The selection of the substrate’s color and fabric will not be limited. For the powder and white ink, the operation has differences from others.

Advantages for Printing

Nowadays, why do many people prefer to get it a try? There are a few advantages to DTF printing. We will show you more detailed descriptions below.

● Fabric Compatibility

DTF film can be used on all kinds of dark and light color canvas, cotton T-shirts, row undershirts, denim, nylon, etc. This makes the manufacturers more choices in fabrics. They will not be limited by fabrics or must buy special paper to heat transfer different kinds of fabrics. As a result, DTF saves the manufacturers’ time and money to a large extent.

● Vivid Color & Color Fastness

DTF must use the modified printer. The modified nozzle of the printer allows more output of the thicker ink than before. More output and thicker ink provide the pattern with a more vivid color and sharpness without chromatic aberration than before. The DTF ink is also not sensitive to solvents. We don’t need to worry about the pattern when it is washed. The fastness of the pattern is also so excellent that it can be torn and rubbed without damage.

● Clear Pattern

On the one hand, the modified nozzle which provides enough ink helps the pattern to be clear. On the other hand, white ink is also of great significance to the DTF. The white ink printed on the bottom of the pattern makes the pattern not covered by the original color of the substrates.

● No Cutting Machine

The DTF film doesn’t need to use the cutting machine. When printing the DTF film, only the area of the pattern will be sticky. Normally, we will stray the powder to the pattern quickly after printing. The powder will fully cover the pattern on average and be used to stick the pattern to the substrates. When is heat transferred, only the pattern with powder will be transferred to the substrates. As a result, we don’t need to cut the film before transferring.

● Price & Volume

We used to calculate the cost of consumables. It was concluded that the cost of consumables per square meter does not exceed $3.60. Normally, we provide diverse sizes of DTF film. The most used are rolled DTF films. DTF film’s good value for money makes merchants more willing to try it.

Disadvantages for Printing

There are some not-so-convenient aspects of the use of DTF film. We will introduce this to provide a better reference for businessmen.

● Air Permeability

After you finish the heat transferring, you can see the pattern transferred to the substrates is a film. As a result, the area transferred will not breathe. To some extent, if we are heat transferring the clothing, the large area of the pattern will influence the air permeability of the clothing. If the substrates don’t need to worry about air permeability, you can absolutely choose DTF to transfer.

● Slightly Complicated Process

Compared with other transferring operations, the DTF’s process may be a little complicated. In addition, it needs to be put in the oven to heat the powder. Of course, we recommend you use our all-in-one machine to print and shake powder. The things you need to do is only putting the film in and filling the ink. Then, you can wait to get the film heated well with powder and start your transferring.


DTF is a new transferring operation. It solves many questions about the limitation of fabrics and colors. With DTF film, the manufacturers don’t need to worry about the colors and fabrics of the substrates during the process of transferring. DTF provides manufacturers with more choices about transferring and saves more time and money. Moreover, the effect of DTF transferring is more pretty and vivid obviously.

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